top of page

Impersonation of artists and music industry companies on social networks 2022-2023

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

The safety of music artists is paramount to the manager, the record label and their investors. That's why cyber scams such as artist branding and social impersonation of their profiles hurt music artists of all shapes and sizes. According to the (FBI), impersonation attacks have caused global losses of more than $5.3 billion. By stealing the confidential information and money of artists' customers and fans, this can erode the trust of victims and ultimately affect the confidence of their customers and fans of the artist. In this post, we will show you the different types of artist impersonation and how music artists, managers, labels, producers and publishers can fight back.

  • Scammers impersonating the music artist are becoming a major risk for artists and music industry companies as they often use sophisticated techniques to make their attacks appear credible.

  • Through social media, scammers can impersonate a music industry company and pass themselves off as very formal, in addition to spreading lies about the music artist, label, music producer, booking manager and manager.

  • There are many different types of artist impersonation, from phishing scams that ask you to send personal information to an external account to full-blown online scams that force you to buy the artist's products or songs from illegitimate sellers.

What is phishing on social networks?

Social media impersonation or identity theft of artist or music industry companies refers to accounts that use the name, image or other identifying elements of an artist or music industry player for fraudulent purposes. Generally speaking, it is the act of one person pretending to be someone else on social media platforms. Music industry impersonation on social media differs from other legitimate uses of a brand, artist or any person or company in the music industry, such as fan accounts, parodies or reviews, and artist or music agent information pages.

Types of impersonation of musical artists or agents in the music industry

There are many different types of impersonation of music artists and music industry agents, from phishing scams that ask you to submit personal information to an external account to full-blown online scams that have you buying products from illegitimate vendors of a music industry company's service. Here are some of the most common ways scammers have posed as music industry agents:

  • Phishing: by impersonating a music artist (or representative of the music artist or music industry service), fraudsters seek to obtain sensitive information or data from customers or fans, such as social security numbers, passwords or bank details. The financial sector (particularly many MusicTech companies, which tend to have more interaction with their users and fans through social networks) is one of the most impacted by these practices.

  • Counterfeiting : these are fake pages of a music industry company or a music artist that attempt to deceive their consumers or other artists by selling inauthentic or unauthorized products or services. They often operate through aggressive advertising campaigns that target consumers of the music industry service or artist and redirect them to a website outside the social network where the transaction takes place or to a bank account. This practice affects a multitude of companies in the music industry, but is especially relevant in this aspirational industry.

  • Fake news: these are accounts that impersonate celebrities or entrepreneurs in the music industry.

  • Scams : although not always carried out by impersonating a third party, many of the main Internet scams (coupons, romance fraud, 491 scam, account takeover, etc.) have their origin in the impersonation of the artist or music industry companies through social networks.

How do impersonators of artists, investors or entrepreneurs in the music industry operate?

The way impersonators operate is very diverse and depends on the social network, the objectives pursued by the impersonator and their level of sophistication. However, there are some common behaviors that have been observed in different impersonation attacks of music industry players:

Generally, there is a correlation between the number of impersonations a music industry agent or artist suffers and their presence on social networks. On the one hand, music industry brands that do not have an official account are often an easy target for scammers, who will try to take advantage of this gap to deceive followers and fans of this industry brand.

At the other extreme, we tend to see that brands with more presence (number of followers, posts, campaigns, etc.) are also a prime target for impersonators, as they know there is a large customer base for the brand to defraud.

Impersonators often use the same photos, names, descriptions, posts, hashtags, etc. as the official accounts. It is also common for them to impersonate "support" or "customer service" pages or run sweepstakes and promotions. The fact that a given account has few posts does not mean that it is risk-free: it may be sending private messages or running aggressive advertising campaigns on the social network and redirecting those affected to external websites to defraud them.

On many social networks, it can take up to several days for newly created accounts to appear in search results. Sophisticated impersonators take advantage of these periods of lower visibility to launch very aggressive attacks, often through advertising campaigns directly targeting consumers or fans of the music industry brand or artist.

The type of social network strongly determines the forms of impersonation. On networks such as LinkedIn, for example, impersonations of music industry company executives or employees are more likely to be encountered. In networks such as Facebook, impersonations are most often done through "Pages", although sometimes they are also done through "Profiles", "Groups" or "Events". It is important to understand how each platform and its audience works in order to correctly identify the different types of impersonation.

How to stop impersonation of music industry companies or artists on social networks?

Most platforms provide reporting tools for those affected, but generally leave it up to them to identify and report any phishing. In this regard, the first piece of advice is clear: be proactive with the problem, because no one is going to fix it for you.

The following are some key considerations to keep in mind when dealing with social impersonation:

  • Automation: in very serious cases, the use of technology for daily monitoring and breach notification is a must.

  • Consistency and speed in detecting and reporting these accounts is key: this prevents them from expanding their follower database and consequently the damage they can cause.

  • Broad keywords: in addition to the name of the artist or music industry company, searches should be conducted with all kinds of variants of the industry brand name (misspellings, separations, alphanumeric combinations, etc.). It is recommended to monitor hashtags or keywords frequently used by the official accounts of the artist or music industry company.

  • Logo recognition of the artist or music industry company: Image and logo recognition models help to identify the presence of logos and other distinctive brand signs in profile images, which can be very useful both to eliminate false positives and to determine criticality and likelihood of confusion.

  • Risk and similarity scores: the use of algorithms based on account parameters (name, description, photos, number of followers and followings, posts, date opened, etc.) can help determine the criticality of a particular account or the risk of confusion with official accounts, key elements when prioritizing and choosing the best enforcement strategy.

  • A comprehensive brand protection strategy should monitor the use of the artist's or music industry company's brand beyond social media to sites such as domain names, websites and app stores.


Impersonations of artists, agents or companies in the music industry on social media represent a growing problem affecting thousands on most platforms. The associated risks include loss of revenue and traffic and, above all, reputational issues and loss of fan or consumer trust. Artists or brands must take a proactive approach to the problem, ensuring that a comprehensive and scalable protection system is in place to identify and eliminate such breaches as quickly as possible. Technology and IP enforcement expertise are key elements to ensure the success of this strategy.If you feel you require our consulting to validate fake applications, sites and domains to protect your customers and your reputation. Contact us!

#musicartist #artistbrandprotection #artistimpersonation #musiclabel #musicmanager #musicuploads

38 views0 comments
bottom of page